United States of Colombia Sword, ca. 1865
Well, it was found in a warehouse that my husband's grandfather had purchased in Columbus, Mississippi, we thought probably in the 1930s.
This sword is really visually just a pretty sword. Do you know where it's from?
I don't. It looks Spanish because of the stuff up on the handle there.
This eagle is from Colombia. On the blade, we have gold wash, and it has the symbol for the country of Colombia, and it says, "Estados Unidos de Colombia," which is, "The United States of Colombia." That's important to help us date the sword, because they only used that as the United States of Colombia from 1861 to 1886. Then it became the Republic of Colombia. At the base of the blade, did you ever notice this marking?
Yes, I did. In fact, I looked it up. I knew that they did the swords for the Civil War.
Mm-hmm. It was Schuyler, Hartley, and Graham, and not only did they do swords for the American Civil War, they were one of the premier retailers-- it was them and Tiffany-- and they made swords that when you saw it, you said, "Wow." When you were buying from Schuyler or you were buying from Tiffany, you were paying through the nose, but you were getting the quality that was worth what you were paying for.
They're New York, are they not?
They're in New York, yes, they are. The sword has the gold on the blade, it has the gold wash on the handle, it has the shagreen grip, which means it's made of ray skin or shark skin. And the blade is the same blade that will show up in a regular cavalry sword or an officer's sword. Then they put the embellishments on it. On the top of the sword, we have the brass backstrap that's gold-gilted. We have the mythological face that a lot of people refer to as Medusa, with the serpents radiating from it. And it's in the original scabbard. The scabbard has the heavy gilt, brass mounts, and it has extra chase work all around. They would cast the piece and then they would go in and hand-chisel it and chase it to give it more clarity and more detail. I think this sword, today, would bring between $5,000 and $6,000 in a retail situation.
Wow, I'm surprised. I really didn't think it was that much.
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